Complexities of tonal realisation in a right-dominant Chinese Wu dialect - Disyllabic tone Sandhi in a speaker from Wencheng

Philip Rose

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    An acoustically-based description is given of the isolation tones and right-dominant tone sandhi in disyllabic words of a male speaker of the Chinese O?ji?ng Wú dialect of Wénchéng. His seven isolation tones show typical Wu complexity, comprising two mid-level, two rising, two falling-rising and one depressed level pitch shapes. Typical too is his three-way voicing contrast in syllable-Onset stops. However, the typical Wu relationship between tonal register and phonemic Onset voicing is shown to be disrupted, Onset voicing no longer correlating with tonal pitch height. The word-final tones in sandhi are shown to be straightforwardly related, phonologically and phonetically, to the isolation tones, with biuniqueness preserved. The realization of the word-initial tones in sandhi, on the other hand, involves complex mergers conditioned by largely non-phonetic factors related to historical tone categories, resulting in five extra sandhi tones that do not occur in isolation. It is suggested that they not be related phonologically to the isolation tones. The historical implications of the patterns are also briefly explored.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)48-80pp
    JournalJournal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society
    Volume9
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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